Jottings on liver cancer, Nexavar and intervention radiotherapy
Posted on April 25th, 2008 by Lilian • Filed under: Life and rants
I am going to jot this down so that there is a note somewhere to refer to.
We just had lunch at 1-Stop and was getting 1 for 3, 3 for 8 (wink,wink going cheap) when the phone rang. Hubby’s relative is asking him if he is free to meet the oncologist. So, we crossed over to Adventist.
It is kind of down memory lane because all my kids were with me and I told them, “HA! 18 years ago, we were here. Nay, the old man selling bubur kacang is still around. Your father ate a bowl every time I gave birth. Later must buy one packet.”
When we walked into the Adventist lobby, my little boy shouted, “Mommy! Look! Jesus!” Sigh…how amazing that a little boy notices this and yet I hardly notice that when I used to go in and out of the lobby for two months after Vincent’s birth (in 2001).
The relative told us her hubby was peeing blood. He is now on Nevaxar which is to treat his advance liver cancer. The medicine costs RM5K per week. There are no other alternatives because the cancer has spread all over the liver.
The cancer drug Nevaxar® has become the first product to receive marketing authorization in the United States for the treatment of liver cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a supplemental New Drug Application for infoNexavar® (sorafenib) tablets for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. In Europe, Nexavar® was approved for the treatment of HCC in October 2007. It is the only drug therapy shown to significantly improve overall survival in patients with the disease.
(source Bayer AG)
She said the doctor speaks very ‘slang’ English and they have difficulties understanding him. So, both hubby and I went to see Dr. Ng. Such a nice Christian doctor because he was calling all over, the General Hospital, Island Hospital and his own hospital to find out the costs etc.
He explained to us that one of the kidney too has cancer cells and that is the cause of the bleeding. The treatment is to embolish (not sure the term) the part of the kidney by cauterization. It is like putting cement to cut off the blood vessel there and let that part of the kidney to stop functioning/bleeding.
This relative is very reluctant to be treated by Western doctors because he dislike the idea of spending so much money, the pain associated with the treatment and generally, some people just do not like hospitals. Thank God, we were there and we get to explain to him that this is the only option. He cannot continuing pee blood and there is no medicine to stop it. I am very good in explaining things like these because of my long exposure to the hospital ICU and had seen doctors in Lam Wah Ee talking in Hokkien.
In fact, it has taken him weeks before he finally relented to see a doctor after his discharge the other day. People like me get very frustrated because I am the kind who will push and push for options, treatments and keep fighting. To me, accepting the cancer and the fate that the end of cancer is death is not good enough. I will fight death before giving up. But some people will think of death as the only option. I am the kind who will die, fighting.
So, given the chance to sit down with Dr. Ng the oncologist, I discovered an amazing man there. He understands the cost concerns as my relative have only limited amount of insurance coverage. That’s why he patiently called the Penang GH to look for intervention radiologist but they do not perform this procedure and do not have drugs. He phoned Island’s and asked them for a rate as well. He told us, “We are a Christian hospital and if you really cannot afford it, we can give you a discount.” But he also told us that there are many busuk kaki patients who claimed to be poor but drive a Mercedes.
Now, that relative has been admitted to undergo the procedure to stop the kidney bleeding. It is only a one-day stay and the procedure is done without surgery. Thank God He puts hubby and I there because if not, this relative will go home and wait again. Initially, he refused to be admitted and undergo the treatment but we insisted gently that there is no other option. (or rather both hubby and I left very little option and arm twist him to stay and do it) Waiting at home is not the option.
I told him that there is no other way except to fight it. He is still strong and alert now so he has to fight it or else if he waits too long, he won’t have the health to do so. (previous post dated April 2nd)
But still, they refused to tell their two children who are working overseas. To me, nothing matters now except to get them home for the moral support. But they think otherwise. They do not want them to come home now and do not want them to worry either. Oh well…we shall see how he reacts to this Nevaxar and pray God gives him a better quality of life and he can overcome it.
(P/S : What do the UK authority do to people who overstayed their tourist visa? Will they get detained and not allowed to leave the country? Or they get kicked out and not able to go in again?)